Universal's Despicable Me 2 is set to upstage Disney's The Lone Ranger when both open this fourth of July holiday weekend.
Even though the Universal sequel had a modest $76 million budget to produce vs Ranger's $250 million, tracking indicates that the animated movie will pass Johnny Depp's action flick.
Estimates for Despicable Me are in the $110 million range while Ranger is at a dismal $70 million.
The cowboy film will have to do well overseas to increase their revenue, which is not a popular genre internationally. Disney is counting on Depp's star status to make up for any concerns about the genre.
Directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Lone Ranger is certainly the one that has the most to lose this weekend especially considering Depp's and Armie Hammer's stars.
The little babbling Minions who played supporting roles in the 2010′s blockbuster Despicable Me take center stage in the sequel.
In fact, the yellow characters are so popular that they will get their own movie next year, but in the meantime they have to share the screen with Gru, voiced by Steve Carell.
Descpicable Me made over $540 million in 2010, to become the 10th biggest animated film in American history.
The sequel has received positive reviews from critics,
"While not quite as charming or unique as the original, (it) comes awfully close, extending co-directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin's delightfully silly sensibility to a bit larger universe," said the Variety trade journal.
Rotten Tomatoes gives it an 81% and four out of five stars.
Despicable Me 2 follows Gru as he is recruited by the Anti-Villain League (AVL) to use his former evil skills to help deal with a powerful new super-criminal.
Despicable Me 2 and The Lone Ranger open in theaters July 3.